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Terms for Plastic Film and Fabric
The following terms are often used when talking about plastic film and fabrics:
LDPE: Short for low-density polyethylene. LDPE is a very thin plastic film that is usually clear and can be stretched. It's typically used for newspaper bags, bubble wrap, and stretch wrap. Because LDPE isn't often used as a wrap for food products, it is recycled in many places.
HDPE: Short for high-density polyethylene. HDPE is a little bit thicker than LDPE, and it isn't clear. It's most often found in plastic grocery bags. HDPE cannot be stretched like LDPE, and it often breaks easily. Again, since this material is not used to store food, it is usually recycled.
Polyester: Abbreviated as PES, polyester can be used as both a film and fabric. As a film, it is often used for packing and protection. For example, many computer and television monitors are covered with a thin layer of polyester film for protection during shipping. When used as a fabric, polyester can be woven with other natural fibers, creating clothing that is highly wrinkle resistant.
Cellophane: An ultra thin plastic film that is made from cellulose. Because cellophane is almost impermeable to germs and bacteria, it's often used to wrap and store food. You can often find cellophane wrapping some of your favorite cookies and crackers at the grocery stores. Cellophane is not recyclable because it is used to store food.
PVC: It's technical name is polyvinyl chloride, but PVC is better known by its abbreviation. As a film, PVC is often used as plastic wraps for storing food, such as the ever-popular Saran Wrap. However, there is some concern about the safety of PVC when using it to store food.
Plastic is used to make many different products and is incorporated into most items that people use each day. Depending on your plastic needs you will want to find a distributor or supplier, which specializes in the type of plastic products you need. Begin by deciding between plastic used in construction, synthetic fabric for clothing, bottles, storage containers, or film to cover and protect items. Once you have found the appropriate supplier, via an online search or by looking through the local telephone book, contact the business and begin to ask questions. Inquire about the type of plastic they use and standards of quality to which they adhere. Contact multiple distributors to find the best fit to suit your plastic needs. If you seek synthetic fabrics, ask if there is a ratio of synthetic to natural fibers. It is important to ask if the cloth includes polyester, acrylic, or other synthetic materials. You will also want to know what type of clothing you will be able to create with the fabric. Some materials are resilient enough to make hats, shoes, or boots. Lighter materials could be used to create clothing items including blouses, pants, skirts, sweaters, and stockings. If you are searching for industrial strength plastic products you will want to know how the supplier produces the products. Do they create sheets of material and form the sheets into a desired shape? Other methods include injecting a mold with liquid plastic and waiting for it to solidify, holding the shape of the mold. You could search for protective plastic film, or thin sheets of plastic, to be used as a protective covering for important documents and presentations. Finding this type of product could require placing a custom order with a supplier.